That was bad ... very bad. Don't let the mildly respectable 36-22 point differential fool you; the St. Louis Rams were stomped on and pushed around on their own turf by the Minnesota Vikings.
To begin the second quarter, the Rams rallied to tie the game at 7 with a touchdown to rookie receiver Brian Quick. Seconds later, Adrian Peterson happened. He took the field, the end zone 82 yards later, all momentum and - eventually - the game ball to all but put the exclamation point on his MVP-caliber season.
St. Louis actually made the game interesting with a late comeback surge, but it was too little, too late for a team that had dug themselves into an insurmountable 30-7 halftime deficit.
Blame the Rams for preventing the NFC West from going 4-0 in a week for the second time in 2012. On to the links...
Peterson crushes Rams - The Rams came into Sunday's matchup with one goal on defense: stopping Adrian Peterson. There are many reasons why they lost this game, but failure to realize said gameplan stands out the most. Peterson's 212 yard rushing total was his best on the year, just edging his 210 against the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago. For a silver lining, it was also his first game of the season in which he did not record a reception. Of course, the Vikings didn't need to throw a lot.
Rams report card - Statistically, Sam Bradford had a career day, throwing for 377 yards, 3 scores and only one interception. Nonetheless, numbers can be misleading. His lone interception was returned for a touchdown and he also fumbled a snap which the Vikings recovered on the preceding drive. Those two turnovers lead to 10 points for Minnesota.
The receivers overall had a decent outing. Danny Amendola caught 6 passes for 58 yards and a score in his return to action, while Brandon Gibson built on his breakout performance from last week. Austin Pettis appears to keep getting better. Brian Quick's touchdown displayed exactly what the Rams and fans hoped he would provide.
The makeshift offensive line was finally exposed with undeniable success at the hands of the Vikings' front. Tackles Rodger Saffold and - especially - Barry Richardson were abused all after noon, allowing countless quarterback pressures. The interior did no better, with center Scott Wells contributing with the botched snap. Harvey Dahl, easily the Rams' best player along the line, appears to have suffered a season-ending bicep tear.
This was quite possibly the defense's worst game. Obviously, when a team faces off against Adrian Peterson, it is going to be in for a tough day, but the Rams were downright embarrassed. Peterson's 82-yard scamper seemed to give fans a "saw that coming" kind of feeling as it sucked all the energy out of the Edward Jones Dome.
Sando's post-game wrap-up - St. Louis may be undefeated in the NFC West, but this loss dropped them to 2-7 outside of the division. The Rams still have a chance of reaching the post-season; however, they will need a lot of help from other teams throughout the league, specifically losses by the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
Jackson makes more history - Not enough can be said about Steven Jackson, who eclipsed the 10,000 career rushing yard mark two years after becoming the St. Louis Rams' all-time leading rusher. He is now just 7 rushing yards short of passing Ricky Williams for 26th all-time and is now 34th all time in yards from scrimmage. Jackson now has 909 yards on the year, just shy of his eighth consecutive 1,000 yard season with two games remaining.
Questions of whether Steven Jackson will return to the Rams in 2013 will continue to flurry until a decision is made - or not made - come spring; however, there should be no doubt that his #39 jersey will eventually hang from the rafters in the dome.
Keys to the game answered - Offensively, the Rams' No. 1 priority was to utilize their own dominant rushing attack, grinding out the clock and keeping Adrian Peterson on the sideline. It may have worked, had the Rams been in any form of running situation. Unfortunately, down 24-7 early with time dwindling, the Rams were forced to shelve Jackson and move the ball through to air. The results - 13 carries to Sam Bradford's 55 pass attempts.
Niners top Patriots in Sunday Night thriller - In what was widely considered the marquee matchup of the weekend, neither the San Francisco 49ers nor the New England Patriots disappointed. After suffering an early blowout - down 31-3 in the third quarter - Tom Brady and the Patriots could not do enough to steal the win. While they managed to tie the game at 31 in the final period, San Francisco immediately answered with a Michael Crabtree touchdown and never relinquished the lead again.
Cardinals snap 9-game losing streak - How long has it been since the Arizona Cardinals were last victorious? Remember when people questioned whether Peyton Manning still had "it?" Against Detroit, the Cardinals recaptured some of their September magic, winning 38-10.
Seahawks stomp Bills - Seven days after suffering an emotional loss to the Rams, the Buffalo Bills traveled to Toronto to "host" the Seattle Seahawks. Subsequently, seven days after dropping 58 points on the Cardinals, the Seahawks achieved yet another "fifty burger." Late in the fourth quarter, up 47-17, Seattle succeeded on a fake punt attempt to add further insult.